Replacing Higher-educated Nurses with Cheaper Staff

At first, we thought this had to be a parody. Surely Gomerblog was behind this. This couldn’t be real. But it is. Granted this article is from Canada but look at the absolute hypocrisy in these statements:

  • One recommendation is to reduce the number of registered nurses (RNs) in favour of licensed practical nurses (LPNs) or healthcare aides, or reduce staffing levels overall, which could save up to $322 million. 
  • “I absolutely agree that costs have to be reduced … but making the changes the way they’re suggesting will actually, the research has shown, cause an increase in workload and increased costs indirectly in terms of length of patient stay and complications.”
  • Carter-Snell said while RNs are more expensive, they have two years more education than LPNs which helps with the complex multi-system problems many patients have — especially the elderly. 
  • She said a simple example is a situation where a patient appears to be going into shock. An LPN would know how to administer the fluids and monitor vital signs, but may not recognize a patient has a heart-valve problem which would change some details of the intervention — or lead to complications and further care being required.
  • Carter-Snell said LPNs receive two-year training that RNs used to receive. 
  • “We’re not recognizing that with the RNs versus the LPNs, they work wonderfully together, but they have different skill sets. They can both do the same tasks in most cases, but it’s the critical thinking, the complex problem-solving and the deeper path of physiology and pharmacology that they’re applying to these acute patients.”
  • “It’s not simply a matter of an accountant saying if we change this, we can get cheaper care. That doesn’t mean you’re getting better care. In fact, I suggest you won’t but you will get perhaps cheaper care.”

ARE THESE NOT THE SAME ARGUMENTS WE TRY TO POINT OUT WHEN COMPARING NPs to MDs/DOs?

Pot meet kettle.

And for the record, we agree with the RN quoted above. LPNs are not equal to RNs. They have less education and less training. Those things are important. Those things are critical.

The same holds true for NPs and PAs as compared to doctors. They are not equal.

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